Michael 'Manganya' Usi is seen in this picture in acting attire. He is now involved in some sexual controversy at his work place which is contrary to what he educates the Malawian public against getting involved in extra love relationships due to the HIV/Aids pandemic.
By Limbani Moya/The Weekend Times
Celebrated Malawian comedian Michael Usi aka ‘Manganya’ has since last year been at the centre of sexual harassment allegations from one of his production assistants at the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Malawi, the Weekend Times has confirmed.
Documents from the alleged victim, Gladys Phiri, who worked with Usi as assistant communications officer, raise nine forms of sexual harassment among them demanding sex, forcing her to suck Usi’s private parts to stimulate him, and physically checking whether her private parts are shaved.
“He would ask me to undress in his office to take a look at my body”
“He would force me to look at his private parts in his office. On several occasions he has used force to make put his penis in my mouth just to excite him,” Gladys was quoted in a 5th September 2008 letter from her lawyers MC and Company addressed to Usi.
“On several occasions he has been asking me to if my pubic hair is shaved. Sometimes he would force his hand into my underwear just to check.”
Asked how she could put up with such harassment for so long, Gladys said in her lawyer’s report that the matter was reported to the human resources and finance manager who unfortunately reported to Usi who was Adra’s deputy country director.
Usi confirmed he was aware of the allegations, but said he believed Gladys was being used by some individuals who did not wish him well.
“This is the work of the devil. I never harassed her. God is my witness,” said Usi in an interview.
Following the allegations, Adra Malawi sent Usi on an administrative leave to pave way for a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter, country director Emmanuel Dacosta confirmed to The Weekend Times.
“Because of the nature of the allegations, Adra Malawi set up a commission of inquiry after the board met. Both parties were heard. Usi was cleared of the allegations because the allegations could not be proved,” Dacosta said in an interview.
However the commission did not release the findings to neither Gladys nor Usi. “I was verbally communicated that I had been cleared.”
“I have not seen the findings of the commission of inquiry. Both Gladys and I went back to work,” said Usi.
Dacosta said he could not tell whether the commission wrote to Usi about the findings saying: “The commission of inquiry was an internal matter and the findings can only be released with the approval of the board.”
While a commission of inquiry was underway, Usi entered into negotiations with Gladys’ family to resolve the matter outside the court, “Since they were family and Christian friends.”
The negotiations involved Gladys’s uncle the late Douglas Chimombo and staunch Adventist politician Gwanda Chakuamba.
“While we were discussing reconciliation with Chakuamba and Chimombo, I was surprised that I was dragged to Blantyre Police station where after a lengthy of discussion, Gladys and her mother said they had no grudges against me and that I had been very nice to their family.” said Usi.
Chakuamba confirmed having mediated the talks as an Adventist approached by the families.
Usi said he was further surprised that Gladys decided to consult her lawyer who demanded that I settle the matter out of court within seven days.
His lawyer Ralph Kasambara in response advised Gladys’s lawyer to go ahead with the court process. “Our client denies the allegations. You can proceed with the court process and serve us accordingly,” Kasambara was quoted in a 23rd December 2008 response.
Not satisfied with verdict, Gladys resigned from Adra Malawi citing personal grounds.
Coincidentally Adra Malawi has refined and reviewed its workplace sexual harassment policy which Dacosta said was in line with Adra’s global policy- Limbani Moya/The Weekend Times.